Gamefly's Game Over: Online Games Distributor No More

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Gamefly's Game Over: Online Games Distributor No More

It's always kind of sad to hear about a firm getting out of a business. Sad for those who actually used said business' services or bought said business' goods, but also sad in general, because that means the market is down a competitor, and that can mean terrible things for an overall business environment. Such a thing has happened just recently as GameFly departed the online games distribution business, selling the property and related issues to AtGames Holding Ltd, according to reports from the company.

It's not all bad news, of course; those who are enjoying GameFly's digital distribution can continue to use the service until the transition is complete. Better, users will be able to continue playing purchased games by simply transferring account information to AtGames, who at last report was looking to “build upon an extensive product line-up” by carrying on with new releases.

Still, the loss of a competitor in the field is a sad one, and opens the field up for Steam to continue to assert dominance as far as digital distribution goes. However, there are still competitors; PlayStation Network and Xbox Live continue to offer excellent options in terms of distribution, and if more platforms enter the market, such would certainly be welcome. Admittedly, there are some rather high barriers to entry in this field—getting the necessary rights and the like to offer such releases can't be easy—but the more competitors are in the field overall the better the results for the players. After all, with several competitors around, gamers have a choice of where to make purchases and that requires all the participants in the field to offer up competitive advantages in a bid to retain players: more titles, different titles, better service, and the always-popular better prices are just some of the possibilities. Without that added competitive impetus, there's no sense in offering the extras, and the services remaining are free to charge whatever the market will bear as there are no other options.

So seeing AtGames step in, seemingly, to keep the streak alive for Gamefly's former digital distribution arm is a welcome treat, and hopefully, some others can follow along. It would be interesting indeed to be able to buy, for example, Xbox games from someone other than Microsoft, though maybe that wouldn't happen so readily. Still, just the idea of it might well be enough to keep the various competitors here concerned, and keep prices low and the like just to discourage others from getting into a field which current firms presently dominate.



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